[altusmetrum] DIY TeleMega

Bdale Garbee bdale at gag.com
Tue Apr 19 08:51:34 MDT 2016

Douglas Bertelsen <douglas.bertelsen at gmail.com> writes:

> Triple-check to make sure you have all parts; it is a pain to add one or
> two later

Note that there's a Makefile target 'muffins' that generates a pdf of
data that can be printed on Avery return address label stock.  I use
those to label "mini muffin tins" that I stage all the parts in prior to
beginning a manual placement session, precisely to ensure that I have
everything I need on hand.

Keith and I also both use little plastic containers made for storing
beads to hold SMT passives, so my ready-to-place bench has muffin tins
with labels and a little plastic bottle sitting in each muffin space
with that part value.

> Have a good system for identifying and locating parts on the board

If you have gEDA's 'pcb' tool running on a laptop that's within reach,
you can use the tool to highlight components by value.  That's what I
do, stepping through a parts list sorted by component size (place the
small / short parts first so you don't bump big things placing smaller
things nearby).

A couple other "tricks".

I like to place the boards after paste application on a plain white 3x5
file card.  This makes them easy to move around together under the
microscope, and it's easy to see parts placed adjacent to the boards.

Avoid lead-free solder.  We use 63/37 eutectic solder with a no-clean
flux for at-home reflow.  It melts at a lower temperature than lead-free
solders, wets out pads much better, and just all around works the way
solder is supposed to work... Let the pros struggle with lead-free if
they have to.

> Have fun!

Absolutely!  Loading SMT boards at home isn't hard, but it's just "out
there" enough to be massively rewarding when it all comes together and
works... ;-)

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